Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Laptop + Ubuntu + LXDE

I decided to install a Linux on my Laptop. Well, I was certain of that before I bought it, but that's not the point.

So far, I'm most confident with Ubuntu and its deviates, since it's piss easy to set up and easy to maintain, plus you get quite recent software updates.

I was also giving Arch Linux, Gentoo and Fedora. I can't remeber why I decided against Fedora, but Archlinux and Gentoo take their work to be set up and Ubuntu runs fine enough.

Next point: LXDE
I want LXDE, because it seems logical to me that with a light weight desktop environment (and window manager) my battery will last a little longer. And I have more resources free for other programs.

I don't need my desktop to look fancy. Of course I use some eye candy, but LXDE doesn't look any worse than GNOME or Xfce IMO.

I found U-lite, which uses Openbox, a very light window manager. There's also Lubuntu, but as U-lite stated, they're more light that Lubuntu, though I guess when it becomes a stable release they will be maintained better, the two teams seem to communicate.

To install U-lite you need to install a base Ubuntu-system, so I downloaded the mini-ISO, put it on a USB-Stick and restarted.
First problem: It didn't seem to have been configured right, because it couldn't find the kernel image.
It was simply named linux, but when it started up it caused a kernel panic due to the root filesystem not being mountable. I found out that you need to set another initrd, which then brought me to the setup screen.

I was happy, thinking that now everything will be easy. WRONG:
No network devices found. I changed a setting in the BIOS to activate the WLAN upon booting (which it then did), but it still could not find a networking device. I googled to find out, that you need a special driver for my Atheros WLAN device.

I got an idea of simply connecting via cable. But yet again, it couldn't find a networking device. Again this was caused by the need for an additional driver. Neat! Fucking Great!

I could download the debian packages of the internet, but I'd have to manually resolve dependencies, besides I wasn't able to mount my NTFS drives, nor did I find my USB Stick in /dev (the latter probably due to my dumbness). It's also possible that the drivers need to run in ring 0 and thus I'd need to recompile the kernel and restart. Dunno if that's possible for an installer.

I now dropped U-lite, but I don't blame it.
I'll wait for the RC of Lubuntu, which they said will come out this month or early beginning of next. I hope that this installer will ship with appropriate drivers :S

P.S.: I don't do web-programming, still I know a little bit of HTML, so I took the liberty of fishing around in the HTML of the blog-posts, which are usually generated via an editor.
Like that I, for example, was able to post correctly formatted code, the media player two posts down (Der Moment) and the abbreviations IMO and RC in this post :3
Man, I suck :< (and the angle bracket of this smiley, because the editor does not correct them)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Samsung R580

So, I got a laptop yesterday, the Samsung R580.
It's pretty sweet so far, except that the screen is a little too bright.

I was looking for a dual-core with >= 2GHz, a dedicated GeForce graphics card >= 8800GS and >= 3GB RAM. Then of course the longer the battery lasts, the better.
I wanted it for development, multi-core testing and some games among HL2 performance.

I didn't test it out yet, but the GeForce 330M I have in here seems to be quite powerful. The specs of this laptop btw. It's got a 330M really, not a 310M as the page stats. Dunno why it says so, maybe I have a different sub-model or something.

I only had a few minor disadvantages of the keyboard as of yet, which is getting the [Fn]-key instead of LControl, # instead of enter, the left-arrow instead of down and sometimes the NumBlock instead of backspace. But I guess that will become better if I keep using this keyboard.

The built-in numpad is pretty sweet, though I guess I could also have settled for a numpad via the [Fn]-key.

The laptop is also pretty light.

As I was told it has a battery-runtime of 4h, I guess the external graphics card is drawing quite a bit, since most laptops read to have a run-time of 3-4h if they possessed dedicated graphics hardware.
It's not too impressive, but it'll do.

I'm hoping to get either U-lite or Lubuntu, if U-lite proves too cocky to set up, on this thing.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Der Moment

This is "Der Moment" by paniq. I found the lyrics to be very beautiful and worth translating and posting on my blog.
paniq composes electronic music, minimal techno and some hip-hop style songs, afaik all are licensed under the Creative Commons.

Download MP3
external Web Player (select "Der Moment")

All albums of his are available in FLAC, except those, whose originals were lost and only the Ogg Vorbis or MP3 versions are still existant.

The lyrics translated to English by myself:
The Moment

Maybe you are on a visit by a friend while listening to this song
even if you are alone, it does not make a difference
the moment you listen and simply let go
will become the moment you die and love yourself for it

Because isn't it like this: You can barely stand yourself
you anxiously walk through the world and feel queasy
when making a mistake you seldom laugh,
because you must take care of doing evenything right.

What you feel and what you think will never be understood by others
and you rarely can look into the eyes of someone else,
but when you don't know the pupils of your friends
why is it that you can still call them your friends?

When theres a person nearby, that one can call a friend,
why don't you now turn to him and take a look
and when you see your sorrow in his eyes,
then you realize, that you still look at yourself.

And maybe it's like that: You are all alone.
What's so good about being together?
If he is a a true friend and knows that you exist
doesn't that also mean, that he really cherishes you?

It's not about possession, about sex or power
and when you look away now, then you've pondered too much
and the moment you look there and simply let go
will become the moment you die and love yourself for it

Maybe you see even more things in the person next to you;
his roots are ancient, he's half god and half animal
and on his side he creates his own reality,
but on the other he will die without your affection.

Don't you know best, just from yourself, what every human needs
and what you give another person is what you also get back from him.
If you wish for someone to clean out your soul,
then it's just not important who will fulfill that wish.

The borders that you know are just an eyewash
live your life like it would end every minute
and give the person, who gladly looks you in the eye,
your hair, your hands, your mouth and your skin.

You take by giving and loose when you win,
but the fear you feel because you surpess your consciousness
closes all doorways to the light that shines within you.
You would kiss by now, if you'd just take heart.

The meaning of this kiss is of a magical character
when you feel the white charm again, then you're finally on the right track
because an answer to the question, why you exist, is really simple:
Because there's someone who loves you.

And with these words, this truth, this song will end
and even if you are now confused, it does not make a difference,
because the moment you believe and simply let go
will become the moment you die, so that love can live.

Friday, April 16, 2010

defective computer

My computer, yet again, crapped out. This time it's my primary hard drive.
It kinda works fine, but after a few minutes it simply vanishes from Windows and that of course hangs the system. If I do a warm restart, even my BIOS will not see it, if I however do a cold restart it is detected again.

My Linux Desktop Manager is not functioning from the previous error I had, but through the terminal I could see that my HDD actually seems to work just fine.

I'm getting kinda worried that the chipset or something is not working properly, thus if I'd now buy a new HDD that something else might break.

So I decided to look around for a replacement. However I actually wanted to wait until GPGPUs are getting popular, so I am looking for laptops.
Nothing really fast, but capable for Games (Source-games in medium graphics quality, no AA) and good RAM, since IDEs tend to take a good share of that, plus around 500GB of disk space, since coding projects do occupy some space...

I actually planned to make a small post about a song with sweet lyrics (german) I found, but that'll just follow tomorrow or something.

P.S.: I will not get a macbook >:(
For one, I don't get around too well with the Desktop Enviroment (though you could probably change that) and the keyboard is just horrible IMO, as well as especially the (default) key layout.

Friday, April 9, 2010

iPhone OS 4 SDK

Apple decided that you can only use OS specific features if you don't use any other API, as well as only in the languages they want and according to specific guidelines given by Apple.

Luckily I don't want to develop for the iPhone. In fact, I don't even have an iPhone. Well, I don't own any product made by Apple.
I might get an Android at some point though. <3 Google :3

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

If you're a C++ programmer

(professional or hobbyist) and already want to read pieces of the upcoming C++0x standard, you should probably read this.
It's about rvalue references, which are kinda confusing as was the
From the first look it looks fine and sweet, but - to quote from that site (first link) - "Everytime I think I have grasped rvalue references, they evade me again".

I thought maybe there were just over my head, but that tutorial is really easy to understand.
It might be easy to find it via Google, but you have to know that it's not over your head, though still a little freaky.

Be careful though. One cute bunny made out of chocolate ended up in my stomach whilst reading that article.
Happy Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

ViruZ Demo Progress-status

So how far is the demo away?
I'm pushing myself to its release, and I've been doing that for 3 month now :P

The switch from cairo to OpenGL was the first obstacle, then finding a decent way to have the shader manage the positions of each virus for instancing, then implementing a geometry shader and now ditching the geometry shader again.

At this very moment I am implementing an easier way to deal with shaders and uploading values to it. That shouldn't take long, most stuff (about 60%) is done, took me around 3h (I was helping someone else and talking to someone else during that, so it took a little longer).

After that it shouldn't be hard to get my virus-shaders working again. Of course I cannot know if I run into any unexpected problems.

Then I will have to find the cause of the serum instantly infecting all viruses upon injection. I don't expect this to be hard to debug.

The switch to a lower OpenGL core version also should be quite fast. Just setting up a bunch of extensions.

The final step before the demo is a basic main-menu, maybe featuring a quality-setting and an animated background. Apart from that the main-menu needs to be able to start the game and exit the application. Getting from the game to the main-menu will probably be done via key-press.

I won't have to think about any trouble regarding the licensing for my code, since the only APIs I am using are OpenGL, OpenMP and the SC++L, all of which are released under a free, open and unenforcing license.
The demo will be source-less and released under some freeware-license.

That being said, I'm having a programmers block. That term kinda describes the inability to keep focus on coding. Dunno, been there since my shader started bitching and my computer broke down. Hopefully this holiday won't go to waste by playing a bunch of games.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Well, to start this post I should say that the last few days I haven't been working on ViruZ.

My computer stopped working, when I was debugging it and I got some BSOD about some kernel error.
I restarted my computer and instead of showing that loading animation when Win7 starts up the display just stayed black.
I then tried out my Sidux LiveCD (Debian Sid/unstable), which also didn't work. So I installed Debian in some unpartitioned space I have left over for testing OSs.

The graphical install worked and after some minor internet problems I got it completely installed. But booting it didn't work: It showed all the normal console-stuff on startup and when it got to the line where it states that it's starting the desktop manager my display again stayed black.
I found out that the text-interface was working fine and found out that at least my data was undamaged.

At some point I also took out my graphicscard, cleaned it and put it back in, but the result didn't change. It also couldn't have been a temporary overheating, since after I slept and tried again it still didn't work.

So I got a replacement card from a friend, found out that it's AGP (I don't have a AGP slot :P), got another PCI one and it kinda worked. There were some display errors (kinda like a 16 colors-modus), but that was in Linux just as it was present in Windows.
I ordered a new card similar to my old one and half a day later, before going to bed, I tried the broken card again - only to find out that it was now working again.

I canceled the shipping of the new card and my computer runs again.

Now to the actual title of this blogpost: ViruZ will soon not feature a geometry-shader. The program I was using to find out how well the extensions are supported seems to malfunction. Geometry-shaders are supported for GeForce 8000-series or higher and ATi/AMD HD 2000 and higher, which is not acceptable.